Phoenix plot AFLW path from wooden spooners base
As they crash towards another A-League Women wooden spoon, Wellington Phoenix are plotting a fruitful off-season to avoid a similar fate in the future.
The Nix are eyeing international recruits next season and hope the Women's World Cup at home can be the chance to lure Kiwi stars back to New Zealand.
After a season spent in Australia, Wellington are now back playing full-time in New Zealand and based out of the top-notch Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS) alongside several professional teams.
Phoenix football chief Shaun Gill said home internationals would allow the club to pitch to abroad-based Ferns.
"A whole lot of Ferns players will be back here," he said on Friday.
"We've got some Ferns players in the environment at the moment talking to the players. They love the environment and love the facility here.
"And a lot of them actually like the idea of playing back in New Zealand. Some doors might open post the World Cup or we get to have some conversations with some of these players."
Central to the pitch is the A-League loosening its rules which prevent the Nix signing foreigners from further afield at the expense of local players.
Gill said the club was "in constant dialogue" with league chiefs around that with a view to bringing in much-needed quality.
As it stands, the Nix have five points from 12 games after another wretched season, five short of second-bottom Newcastle Jets.
Despite the losses, Gill said he saw "more positives than negatives" from the campaign, with coach Natalie Lawrence's future yet to be resolved.
"We continue to talk to her, continue to talk as a club about what's best for the women's program going forward," he said.
They host seventh-placed Brisbane on Saturday at Sky Stadium, their first game back in the capital since their only win of the season - a stunning 5-0 victory over Canberra United.
Striker Betsy Hassett faces a fitness test for the match after breaking her nose on international duty last week.
Judging by teammate Chloe Knott's Instagram account, she is likely to be playing with Knott posting a picture of Hassett - labelled "Super Betty" - training with a mask.
"Scoring goals is her mission," Knott wrote.
Brisbane will boast Matildas pair Katrina Gorry and Larissa Crummer as they seek a late run into finals contention from seventh.
Both scored in their last match against the Phoenix, a 3-3 draw six weeks ago.